Dr. Radha Jalan
Until 1992 I was an educator, mother, and wife, and unexpectedly became the CEO of an electrochemical company after the sudden death of my husband in February 92. The Company, ElectroChem Inc. founded in 1986 was already going through its challenge of ‘Growth vs. Revenue’. Navigating the challenges while being a mother to two teen girls (19 and 15), with no support from the families in India, I had to take over the reins of the company and move it forward.
Through all the ups and downs, in late 1992, I managed to get ElectroChem to become the first Company in the world to manufacture a tabletop demonstration unit of fuel cell/ hydrogen energy, playing a disc player totally powered by hydrogen and oxygen gases. My extended network of professionals provided me much needed support while my entire existing staff, except for one employee, left within the first six months for better job security. Yet, ElectroChem became known for the quality and reliability of its products for researchers and developed a reputation of innovation in hydrogen energy and was awarded several patents. With the advent of internet marketing, in 1994, I secured www.fuelcell.com for our marketing needs.
Being a woman entrepreneur in the 90s was not easy! I had to deal with several legal battles including successfully fighting a publicly traded utility company. I look back and am happy at what I accomplished and wish every woman entrepreneur success. There is no field a woman cannot excel in - it just needs courage, confidence and hard work!